Fantastic Frankie lights up Royal Ascot, FAI review group to deliver report
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Frankie Dettori after his Ascot Gold Cup win on Stradivarius. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty
Thursday at Royal Ascot belonged to one man - Frankie Dettori - as the 48-year-old tore through the card, winning the opening four races at combined odds of 449-1. Having produced two fine winners on Wednesday the Italian carried seemingly unstoppable momentum into yesterday, taking the opening Norfolk Stakes on A’Ali (5-1), followed by two further successes on Sangarius (13-2) and Star Catcher (4-1). The best was to follow in the Ascot Gold Cup, as the mighty Stradivarius (Evs) retained his crown in gallant style to give Dettori his fourth winner of the day. Frankie’s fun stopped there however, and he missed out in the final two races and on the chance to go through the card. Aidan O’Brien managed a solitary winner - Southern Pacific and Seamie Heffernan taking the day’s closing handicap at 22-1 - but he will fancy his chances of a much improved showing on Friday. He saddles Commonwealth Cup (3.40pm) favourite Ten Sovereigns and Coronation Stakes (4.20pm) hotpot Hermosa, who could give him back-to-back Group One glory this afternoon.
An independent review group into the governance of the FAI will release their report on the association at 11.0am this morning, as it tries to move out of the long shadow cast by the recently departed former chief executive John Delaney. Many of the report’s proposals will be on matters of administration, however the proposed make-up of the FAI’s new board and council has potential to become a key battleground. Emmet Malone writes: “The absence of anyone who might serve to unify factions and start to drive things forward is one reason why there are those who strongly suspect that whatever is proposed by the governance review group today will not ultimately receive the support it needs to get through the association’s AGM in July.”